House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: International Travel

4:18 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to speak about the government's recent decision to open the border up to people arriving from New Zealand and the encouragement that this has given to those working in the travel industry. This is an important first step and a necessary lifeline for the members of the travel agent industry and related professions. Whilst our borders have been shut to international travel for much of this year, the travel industry has been doing it particularly tough. Many of them have kept their doors open, but they have had no source of income—and they have had to return their normal source of income, commissions. They have done so out of a sense of duty to their clients and their customers, with whom many have longstanding relationships.

We should all recognise that this is an industry that has been particularly badly hit by COVID-19. Not only are they getting no revenue at the moment but they are also having to give back money that they've earnt over the past year and are still having to pay expenses. I've been talking to members of this industry in my electorate of Wentworth in recent months as well as their industry body, the Australian Federation of Travel agents, and to individual business owners. I know how tough they're doing it, but they're compelled to keep their doors open out of a sense of loyalty and devotion to their customers.

As we get towards Christmas, and the borders within Australia open, including Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Victoria—soon, we hope—I'd encourage all Australians to travel domestically. And, when you do, please think about using your local travel agent. Make a booking, give them some money and help them earn a living.